Fuel handling system plays key role in biomass plant operation

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Fuelled each year by 400,000 tonnes of UK sustainable waste and virgin wood, RWE’s Markinch Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant in Fife, Scotland, inaugurated in March 2015, includes a critical fuel reception and handling solution developed by Saxlund International

Fuel handling system plays key role in biomass plant operationCurrently regarded as the largest biomass plant in the UK, the state-of-the-art biomass power facility has an installed capacity of 65MW — excess electricity is fed into the local network supplying some 56,000 homes.

Saxlund has been involved from the earliest stages of the multi-million pound project in the design and development of the robust materials handling system, including full installation, project management and commissioning. Determining a sufficient onsite fuel storage buffer to ensure uninterrupted operation between deliveries and a first in, first out, design philosophy to minimise fuel degradation and compaction are part of the concept.

Key components supplied by Saxlund include four fuel container lorry reception units, chain conveyors, screening to remove out of spec or oversize material and three concrete storage silos. Measuring 26m high by 20m wide, each is equipped with a Saxlund rotary Tube Feeder to provide continuous, high-volume discharge of fuel to the combustion process. Each Tube Feeder consumes just 60kW of power in use — about a quarter of the power of competing technologies — and ideal for renewable power generation.

“Wood chip biomass is non-free flowing and difficult to handle," said Saxlund International MD Matt Drew. "The design concept required sufficient on-site storage to ensure uninterrupted power generation, flexibility to deal with changing fuels specifications, and an optimal mass flow of material into the combustion process, with minimal dust generation.”

A subsidiary of the international energy and environmental group Opcon, Saxlund International is a leading player in the biomass combustion, energy from waste and the bulk solid handling and storage sectors.

23 September 2015

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